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Covid-19’s environmental effects

We want to thank all critical infrastructure employees for keeping up their work efforts during such tough times and therefore ensuring everybody’s well-being! Furthermore, we want to thank everyone who is disciplined by following government advice by reducing social contact to an essential minimum, while staying home, to prevent the further spread of the virus. 

To contribute to greater awareness of the impacts this virus has on electrifying.world’s emphasis, we have decided to add a series of blogs, dedicated to cover several effects of these hot of the press circumstances. 

For the beginning, we will focus on the environmental impacts of the global pandemic. These are mostly resulting from air traffic and road traffic reduction, factory shutdowns and lower amounts of electricity consumed. Due to the lockdown measures taken around the world, especially the high energy-intensive production industry was forced to partially or even wholly shut its factories, until further notice. 

The industrial energy demand is, e.g. 40% in Germany, and 76% in China in FY2019 of the country’s total usage. Therefore, it is only natural that the suspensions of production sites affect the total electricity consumed.  Until now, a generalization cannot yet be derived; however, since the official outbreak in December, China has seen a fall of 73 billion kWh consumed, compared to the previous period, which equals the demand of Chile over an entire year. Not only China, but also European epicentres show a remarkable reduction in power demand, e.g. Italy (16%), Spain (10%), and France (15%). 

Looking at air traffic, as most of you have undoubtedly noticed, an enormous reduction can be seen. A total of 53 airlines have grounded all of their planes. Nonetheless, a downwards trend of operated flights can only be seen within the last ten days. The current flight reduction sums up to a total of ~28% globally, with some areas seeing only 7% of usual flight traffic. Additionally, New York, for example, saw a reduction of carbon monoxide by nearly 50%, traffic levels in the city are estimated to be down about 35%, and COemissions are expected to be down between 5 – 10%.

With global economic activities ramping down as a result of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gasses related to energy and transport would be reduced. 

Source: NASA

The above image shows satellite pictures of the Chinese regions of Wuhan and Beijing, where an apparent mean pollution reduction over five weeks can be seen. 

Another astonishing example is happening in Venice, Italy, where water is clearing up, and fish life could be observed for the first time in years. This phenomenon is a result of a near stop of all sorts of boat and canal traffic. Apart from all the devastating consequences, this pandemic brings along, if you look closely, you can see some positive side-effects. 

Where else can You spot such improvements resulting from this economic slowdown?  

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